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Category Archives: Livin’

LSU-Alabama Game

Eye of the Tiger

Eye of the Tiger

What. A. Game.

Some people may have wanted more points, more big plays or even a different outcome, but this was SEC defensive football at its best. No touchdowns, only two teams in the trenches battling to determine who really was #1.

Thankfully, there would be no change at the top of the ranking this week, and the LSU Tigers would remain atop the rankings and on track for the BCS Championship Game in New Orleans.

My sister and I ventured to Tuscaloosa for the game and had a blast! The weather was perfect, the campus was beautiful and the fans were accommodating before and after the game.

Tailgating Setup

The Tigalaya Tailgating Spot

The worst part of the trip was actually waiting for the game to start. The anticipation had been building for weeks so as it got closer, the wait seemed to drag out and time seemed to come to a standstill.

Some of the folks from Tigalaya.com invited us to their tailgating party since we didn’t have actual tickets to the game. They turned out to be a very hospitable group and I can’t wait to tailgate with them in Baton Rouge or at another away game.

As for the game itself, like I mentioned it was a real battle. There’s not doubt in my mind LSU and Alabama deserve to be the top two teams in college football. And with Alabama only dropping to four after its loss, I think a rematch is a real possibility — and rightly so.

Bryant-Denny Stadium

Bryant-Denny Stadium

I’m not sure what Alabama coach Nick Saban was thinking playing for field goals over field position throughout the game. Those three missed field goals in regulation were killer.

The other huge play was the LSU interception at the goal line. Alabama fans were complaining about the interception call, but it was clear to me it was an interception. One that saved the game, and maybe season, for the Tigers.

After the game, the fans in Tuscaloosa weren’t too despondent and several were even congratulatory. I’m not sure I would have had the stomach to be so kind if LSU had lost, but then again, I’m uber-competitive.

American and LSU Flags

The flags at the tailgating spot

No matter how this season plays out, the overtime thriller in Tuscaloosa was a classic defensive game that came down to the wire. Last night my sister and I came up with eight reasons it was a great win for the Tigers. Unfortunately, after the alcohol wore off, my memory can only recall six:

  1. It was 1 vs. 2.
  2. It was on the road in Tuscaloosa.
  3. It was another victory over Nick Saban.
  4. It was a close game.
  5. It went to OT.
  6. It was decided on the last play of the game.

Now LSU just has to win it’s next three games and the SEC Championship to ensure it’s spot in the BCS Championship Game. Geaux Tigers!

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Posted by on November 6, 2011 in Livin'

 

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The 22nd Annual New Orleans Film Festival

Today, The 22nd Annual New Orleans Film Festival kicks off. As a member of the New Orleans Film Society, I had the privilege of screening many of the documentaries showing over the course of the next week.

Here’s a guide to what I plan on seeing and what documentaries I can recommend based on my firsthand knowledge. Tickets are available on the New Orleans Film Society website.

Fri., Oct. 14

A Dangerous Method

A Dangerous Method

A Dangerous Method
Showtimes: 6:45 p.m. and 8:50 p.m. (The Theatres at Canal Place)

Starring Viggo Mortensen as renowned psychologist Sigmund Freud and Michael Fassbender as Freud’s prodigy Carl Jeung, A Dangerous Method draws from the real-life events of both psychologists during World War I. Keira Knightley plays Sabina Spielrein, a trouble woman who comes between the doctors. Described as a dark tale of sexual and intellectual discovery, this film has been picked up by Sony Pictures for U.S. distribution.

Sat., Oct. 15

An African Election

An African Election

An African Election
Showtime: 1:45 p.m. (The Theatres at Canal Place)

What happens when a too-close-to-call election takes place in Ghana, a country known for political unrest, corruption and violence? The answer: a thrill-ride examining the dangers and rewards of holding a fully democratic election.

A highly political documentary, An African Election exposes the ins and outs of political electioneering taking place in much of Africa. Capturing the intrigue of the 2008 political campaigns, the film is set within the dramatic backdrop of a violent, uneasy time for the entire nation of Ghana.

Can a third-world nation successfully hold a democratic election free of corruption? That question is made all the more significant given that the two parties featured in this film are willing to do almost anything to win and gain control of Ghana.

Gain an unprecedented inside view of the political, economic and social forces at work within Ghana while exploring the pride and humanity of larger-than-life politicians and the citizens fighting for the rights of their country.

Zero Percent

Zero Percent

Zero Percent
Showtime: 1:40 p.m. (Second Line Stages)

Offering a unique way of dealing with recidivism, the Hudson Link program has produced astounding results through the transformative power of education. Prisoners at the notorious Sing Sing Correctional Facility in upstate New York are given a full college education within the confines of the prison walls.

The results will leave you amazed at the success rate of this groundbreaking educational program. The program also presents an interesting moral and societal conundrum: Do convicted criminals deserve a college degree in a world where the average family struggles to finance a non-criminal child’s education?

Zero Percent gives viewers rare access within the walls of the facility and into the lives of the prisoners participating in Hudson Link. Explore the intense prison life and challenges for the inmates hoping to earn not only their college degree, but societal redemption — and ultimately, forgiveness.

Sun., Oct. 16

Marathon Boy

Marathon Boy

Marathon Boy
Showtime: 4:15 p.m. (The Theatres at Canal Place)
Also plays at 5:35 p.m. on Wed., Oct. 19

This is an epic documentary that follows Budhia, a four-year-old Indian orphan, and his coach, Biranchi, as Budhia trains for long-distance running. Budhia runs a record 65-kilometer distance at his young age of four.

Soon thereafter, questions are raised as to the coaching style of Biranchi and whether he truly has Budhia’s best interests in mind. Marathon Boy follows Budhia for five years as he runs race after race.

This was one of the best documentaries I screened throughout the process so I highly recommend making time for this film

Mon., Oct. 17

Man in the Glass: The Dale Brown Story

Man in the Glass

Man in the Glass: The Dale Brown Story
Showtime: 5:20 p.m. (Prytania Theatre)
Also plays at 2:15 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 15.

LSU fans rejoice! Man in the Glass: The Dale Brown Story chronicles the legacy of fabled (and often-criticized) LSU basketball coach (1972-1997) Dale Brown. From his battles with the NCAA, his successful campaign to have a prisoner released from Angola State Penitentiary, his efforts on behalf of Native Americans and his lifelong commitment to his players, Dale Brown is a man full of passion, humanity and fire.

Featured in the documentary are well-known personalities including Matthew McConaughey, Shaquille O’Neal (one of Coach Brown’s most successful players), John Wooden, Dick Vitale and Tim Brando. Each personality offers their own unique perspective on Coach Brown’s effect on their lives, the game of college basketball and the sports world.

The story tells the tale of not a basketball coach, but a unique person whose compassion knows no boundaries. Relive Coach Brown’s thrilling highs and low points as coach of the LSU Tigers’ men’s basketball team. Geaux Tigers!

Tues., Oct. 18

A Fighting Chance

A Fighting Chance

A Fighting Chance
Showtime: 9:45 p.m. (The Theatres at Canal Place)
Also plays at 7:50 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 15.

ESPN-produced A Fighting Chance explores wrestler Kyle Manard’s goal of fighting in an official Mixed Martial Arts match. The twist? Kyle was born without arms or legs and seeks a match against an able-bodied fighter — an aspiration some MMA officials and fighters disagree with.

At age 23, Kyle became a top-ranked wrestler, ESPY award-winner, motivation speaker and bestselling author, but his latest goal proves highly controversial and even dangerous. He learns to man up to the greater challenge of the majority of the world seeing him as disabled.

Kyle shows how difficult (and rewarding) life can be when every day is a challenge. Aside from his goal of earning an MMA fight, Kyle’s work with recovering military veterans plays a large part in his successful “No Excuses” philosophy. Explore his emotional journey from highly-regarded wrestler to the low-man-on-the-totem-pole MMA fighter in training. Kyle’s story is an inspiration for all.

Weekend

Weekend

Weekend
Showtime: 9:50 p.m. (The Theatres at Canal Place)
Also plays at 10:00 p.m. on Thurs., Oct. 20.

Weekend has already picked up several accolades including winning Audience Awards at SXSW and Outfest 2011.

Described as a startlingly authentic love story, Weekend focuses on the relationship of two gay men who initially start out at a one-night stand, but soon find themselves involved in a lost weekend full of sex, drugs and conversation.

Both men have unique outlooks and expectations out of life. Despite that, they develop a connection that may last a lifetime.

Wed., Oct. 19

Disfarmer: A Portrait of America

Disfarmer: A Portrait of America

Disfarmer: A Portrait of America
Showtime: 6:30 p.m. (Zeitgeist)
Also plays at 4:00 p.m. on Sat., Oct. 15 at The Theatres at Canal Place.

Discover one of America’s forgotten photographs: Mike Disfarmer. From Heber Sprinks, Ark., Disfarmer captured the faces, lives and emotions of the American heartland in an influential time in our nation’s history. His portraits documenting working-class farmland families and their struggles through World War I, the Great Depression and World War II compile a true visual record — of history and art.

Though Disfarmer was actively photographing families up until his death in 1959, his black and white portraits went largely unnoticed until being “discovered” by new York photography dealers in recent years. Critics have hailed his portraits as “a work of artistic genius” and ” a classical episode in the history of American photography.”

Disfarmer: A Portrait of America illustrated Disfarmer’s influence on the world of photography, his hometown of Heber Springs, Ark. and the Mahattan art world.

Melancholia

Melancholia

Melancholia
Showtime: 5:45 p.m. (Prytania Theatre)
Also plays at 6:50 p.m. on Sun., Oct. 16.

In Lars von Trier’s movie about the end of the world, Justine (Kirsten Dunst) and Michael (Alexander Skaarsgard) are set to celebrate their wedding. One problem: the planet Melancholia is on a direct collision course with Earth.

This film takes a minimalist approach so don’t expect special effects dramatics. It’s more of an examination of strained relationships the fiasco known as a wedding day.

Thurs., Oct. 20

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Martha Marcy May Marlene
Showtime: 7:30 p.m. (Prytania Theatre)

Martha Marcy May Marlene follows a young woman who is newly escaped from a cult. As she embarks on her recovery, she is haunted by painful memories and paranoia.

But, reassimilating with her family proves to be a challenge. MMMM, played by Elizabeth Olson, is an exploration of the lasting effects of psychological terror and trauma.

Martha Marcy May Marlene originally screened at Sundance.

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2011 in Livin'

 

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2011 American Cancer Society Hope Gala

Top Chef Betty Fraser and Myself at the 2011 ACS Hope Gala

Top Chef Betty Fraser and Myself at the 2011 ACS Hope Gala.

I’m a little late in writing a recap of an event I helped coordinate, but better late than never. That said, for the past five years, I’ve had the privilege of serving as a chair for the American Cancer Society Hope Gala. For the first three years, I was the auction chair and for the past two years, I’ve served as restaurant chair.

This year, we raised over $200,000 to help fight cancer in the greater New Orleans area. A large part of the success is due to the Hope Gala committee: Lorrie Lee, Carla Morphy-Adams, Melissa Pennebaker (overall event chair) and Ali James. We had a great team that worked very hard for about six months to put the event together.

This year, for my task of gathering restaurants I thought of the idea to reach out to former Top Chef contestants to participate and come cook at the event. I was fortunate to get four to come down to New Orleans. Betty Fraser (Season 2), Ed Cotton (Season 7), Hosea Rosenberg (Season 5) and Tracey Bloom (Season 7) we all in attendance and made some great dishes.

Top Chefs at the Hope Gala

Top Chefs at the Hope Gala.

In addition to the Top Chefs, great restaurants all participated including Acme Oyster House, Bayona, Creole Creamery, Besh Steakhouse, Le Meritage, Mike’s on the Avenue, La Petite Grocery, Muriel’s, Ste. Marie, La Cote Brasserie and The Grill Room all came out to support a great cause.

Set in the Shops at Canal Place, Fox 8’s Liz Reyes served a the host for the event joined by emcee Mark Romig. During the event ACS honored this year’s Spirit Award recipients — medical professional who made a difference in the lives of those suffering from cancer.

Overall, the night provided some great food (I’m not biased, I promise) and drink, a high-quality auction, great entertainment by the Bucktown All-Stars, and a platform to showcase the progress being made to fight cancer.

Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg and ACS Hope Gala Volunteer Lorena Poche

Top Chef Hosea Rosenberg and ACS Hope Gala Volunteer Lorena Poche.

The 2012 Hope Gala is set for August 18, 2012 in The Shops at Canal Place. If you would like to make a donation or participate, feel free to contact me to get involved. We never turn volunteers away and we’re always on the lookout for people compassionate about the fight against cancer. To learn more, visit the American Cancer Society’s website.

Photography by Amy Jett (c) 2011.

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Livin'

 

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Takin’ the Streetcar

New Orleans Streetcar at Sunset

The Streetcar at Sunset

I’ll start out with an admission: for the first three years I live in New Orleans, I never rode the streetcar. Thankfully, I hopped on during my fourth year. There’s just something about taking a streetcar ride through uptown New Orleans that feels so timelessly authentic. Maybe it’s the history of the streetcar itself, maybe its the palatial homes along St. Charles. Whatever it is, it’s definitely an inspirational journey.

What was once something I never paid much attention to is now one of my favorite ways to get around in the city. Think about it. On a standard ride from the beginning of the line to the end of the line you pass Oak Street, Camellia Grill, Tulane, Loyola, Audubon Park, The Wedding Cake House, several daiquiri shops, Fat Harry’s, Superior Grill, Avenue Pub, a Popeye’s, Lee Circle, Lafayette Square, and countless restaurants. It’s like a who’s who of New Orleans all along the same tracks. I’m not sure you could ask for more whether driving, biking or riding. Plus, the $1.25 fare each way really can’t be beat in the days of close to $4 gas prices.

In addition to all the great stops along the route, there’s always something happening along the streetcar route. In fact, just yesterday, a lady was passed out on the tracks near Napoleon causing the whole line to come to a halt. Still not convinced? Only two weeks ago, an errant driver hit a streetlight post and shut down the service. And let’s not forget the tree that fell on the tracks right after Tropical Storm Lee.

The New Orleans Streetcar in Motion

The Streetcar in Motion

While all of those incidents may sound like reasons NOT to take the streetcar, in actuality, they are perfect reasons for taking the streetcar. Point being, it’s never a boring ride. How else can you explain such an unconventional mode of transportation serving generations of New Orleanians?

On a serious note, the streetcar drivers are some of the best designated drivers in the city. We know we like to drink, the city knows we like to drink so they hired us a full fleet of designated drivers at minimal cost to us New Orleanians.

So next time you’re looking for any interesting way to get around (whether you’re sober or not), don’t forget about the New Orleans institution that is the New Orleans streetcar.

 
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Posted by on September 28, 2011 in Livin'

 

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Love in the Garden

Last night, I attended LOVE in the Garden in the New Orleans Museum of Art’s Besthoff Sculpture Garden. It was a great event with an awesome venue. The food, drinks, entertainment and crowd combined to make a fun night. The Firefly vodka bar helped a lot as well (they may as well have given me a bottle).

LOVE Sculpture

The LOVE Sculpture

Organized by local socialite Annie Flettrich (in what she billed as her “retirement event), the event came off without a hitch. Two other friends of mine, Katie Hardin and Jennifer Jeansonne, also helped organize the event. All did a great job!

Local restaurants including Acme Oyster House, Squeal, Zoe W Hotel, Mondo (with my favorite dish of the night — a chicken pate with pickled watermelon rind), Cafe Noma and Le Meritage. While the food was great, we all know why people go to these events: the open bar. For me, the Firefly bar was genius! I think I had at least a bottle, but surprisingly, no hangover.

The Besthoff Sculpture Garden is one of the city’s true gems (as is the entire City Park/NOMA combo). The sculpture/gondola/green space works extremely well as an event venue. I would highly recommend visiting even if an event is not going on, however.

Sculpture in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden at NOMA

A contemporary sculpture in the Besthoff Sculpture Garden at NOMA

The Mixed Nuts provided the night’s entertainment. And they really know how to get white people movin’ and groovin’. All of the cover songs were spot on and the band has some nice vocalists and a great horns section.

I have to admit, this was my second favorite event of the year behind the American Cancer Society Hope Gala, but I’m biased because I help organize that one. I’ll definitely be back next year and in the years to come.

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2011 in Livin'

 

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